Laliga demands Uefa penalise moneybags

When asked about the accusations, manager Pep Guardiola insisted that Manchester City have always tried to do things the right way.
When asked about the accusations, manager Pep Guardiola insisted that Manchester City have always tried to do things the right way.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Spanish body ready to approach European Union if City and PSG get away with breaking FFP rules

LONDON • The Spanish football league's organising body LaLiga is ready to turn to the European Union if Uefa does not enforce its financial fair play (FFP) rules against Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, a spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.

The clubs had inflated sponsorship revenues from organisations related to the owners to meet FFP requirements, leaked documents obtained by the German publication Der Spiegel showed.

"The Football Leaks documents appear to confirm what we have been saying for years," LaLiga spokesman Joris Evers said.

He also said LaLiga did not have "full confidence" that Uefa would enforce the rules, adding: "Should Uefa fail to act, we will do what we have said before: launch a complaint with EU competition authorities."

Evers declined to comment on whether the case would be brought against Uefa or the clubs.

"Uefa should now take action and apply the rules that exist and any sanctions that are necessary," he added. "Uefa should do its job in enforcing FFP because both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are not complying with FFP rules."

FFP rules were designed to encourage clubs to spend within their means and prevent the sport's richest owners from crushing their rivals. Clubs must be transparent about revenues and broadly balance them against expenditure.

 
 
 

According to the documents published last week, European ruling body Uefa's regulatory body accepted City and PSG receiving income from key sponsors related to the club owners that was far in excess of the market value estimated by independent experts.

City are also alleged to have saved €30 million (S$47.2 million) in marketing income by secretly setting up a shell company, Fordham Sports Management, to pay players for their image rights.

Usually, clubs pay the players. But, in the scheme, known by City insiders as Project Longbow, Fordham is alleged to have done so - with City's owner reimbursing Fordham directly to the tune of £11 million (S$19.8 million) a year.

Der Spiegel said the deal was a "closed payment loop", which allowed City to hide the expenditure.

When asked about the accusations, manager Pep Guardiola insisted that City have always tried to do things the right way.

"All I know is that we are not the only club to spend a lot of money. If you want to achieve another level, that is what you have to do," he said.

"When I was in Spain and Germany, you would always hear that City was just about money. Now I am on the inside, I know something different. Everyone here is very professional."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2018, with the headline 'Laliga demands Uefa penalise moneybags'. Print Edition | Subscribe